HOW TO GET NOTICED BY BLOGGERS WHEN SELLING ON ETSY (OR ONLINE)

So you’ve made it to Etsy (or opened an online business), kudos to you! You’ve set up your beautiful shop, you’ve worked on your detailed product descriptions to overcome SEO and now you’re wondering how will people know that you’re somewhere ‘out there’.

Well… there are a few ways how these things might happen. To me, it seems the basis of it all is still this little word called ‘communication’ and various forms and strategies that are related to it.

COMMUNICATE WITH A GOAL IN MIND

It can’t be emphasized enough that creating, holding and keeping up good relationships with your customers as well as peers in your network is a MUST. Turn your ‘nice’-button to the max and start making friends. Having friends in the business scene will get you further.

If you’re able to please a customer with your products and buying experience then there’s a more likely chance that they will rave about their awesome experience to others as well. This is especially true about fashion bloggers or today’s vloggers (short for video-bloggers) who often do product reviews in front of a screen and if you’re lucky enough to get mentioned this could bring a lot of good exposure to your business.

However, getting their attention is the key to getting noticed and mentioned in their blogs or vlogs. There are many roads that might lead you there eventually – some longer, some shorter. But getting started by following their blogs, commenting on topics that are genuinely interesting for you and engaging in online conversations is a good first step.

NETWORKING IN THE NAME OF BUSINESS

Selling something online is a tough business but having a group of like-minded people support you on the way is a good start. So my suggestion to you would be to find ways how to collaborate with your fellow peers to create ‘win-win’ situations. Organize a fashion show together with other designers, join forces and set up a pop-up shop at a local fair or city in anticipation of big holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc).

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Women helping other women succeed will have a better outcome than everyone trying to make it on their own. In the process of running mutually beneficial projects, you’ll make new friends and partners, get more insight into how other people are working and simply think bigger. Networking, when done the right way, leads to important new connections, meeting the right people and getting your foot in the door. Plus, it’s always great to meet people that are having similar kind of hurdles when it comes to running online businesses.

The good news is that when you’re organizing a joint effort such as a fashion showcase, a pop-up shop or a networking night it’s always a great idea to involve known local bloggers or newspapers in the events. Invite the blogger or reporter over, give them a free seat, meet up and ask for advice or invite them to come and give a talk at your networking event to educate others about blogging in general.

COLLABORATING WITH STRANGERS

Getting good collaboration offers from strangers on Etsy might initially seem the very unlikely thing to happen, however, you might be surprised. If your Etsy shop looks appealing, the quality of your product pictures is high and your personality oozes through the descriptions, then you might get picked up by other fellow Etsy sellers/bloggers. After all, on Etsy you’re both the seller as well as the buyer and everyone loves looking at pretty things.

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There are 2 ways how getting noticed and offered a collaboration might happen: 1) they’ll ask you if it’s OK to blog about you and your products 2) they’ll ask you to send some free stuff that they’ll take photographs with or of, that they might video blog about and offer you some exposure through that.

The first option, of course, is the less risky business, because then you won’t have to send any free stuff to a stranger at your own cost. The least you might be asked to do is to answer questions and share your product photos. So it’s always a good idea to keep a collection of work in progress shots, images about your workspace or studio, or amazing product photos at hand. The latter, by the way, makes also great material to use on your Instagram or Facebook channels.

Option 2, as shady as it sounds, however, could also be a blessing in disguise. A fair warning before you start sending free stuff to someone: make sure you do your background check: look at the person’s blog, vlog or photographs, see how many followers they’ve got and if the audience fits your brand’s, and ask if you can use the photographs (if the person is asking your products to use on a photo shoot) later on for your own shop or blog. That way it will be a bigger win for you as well than just a vague promise of ‘exposure’ on a channel that might not even be popular.

PARTICIPATE IN OFFLINE EVENTS

Having an online shop is a big deal. But don’t forget that you’re dealing with real people and people who shop for hand-made things will more than often also want to touch your things. After all, that’s why clothes stores were invented! Same goes for jewellery and another kind of products. The more expensive your product, the more likely it is that a person will think long and hard before hitting ‘buy now’ button.

Participating in online events, such as craft fairs or beauty fairs, has a lot of advantages, in addition, to actually selling things. I personally have found it a great way to communicate my brand, introduce myself as the face of the brand and to convince people to buy my products. Once they are on the hook, keep up their interest by encouraging them to touch your products, feel the texture, try it on etc.

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And don’t underestimate the power of having your business cards on the table. If you’re taking part in a big fair the people might get overwhelmed by all the choices they’re surrounded with. Having business cards available at your desk will allow possible customers to pick your card and find your Etsy shop later on online to close the sell.

Furthermore, offline craft fairs are like a buffet dinner for fashion bloggers who come to hunt down their next big article idea, favourite designer or up and coming brands. And sometimes you might just attract the eye of a tourist or travel blogger that will share their experiences and cool findings while writing about their trip to your country. If the outcome is a blog post, you’ve been successful!

JOIN FORCES WITH FELLOW SHOP OWNERS

If you’re running an online shop then the chances are that you’re active in social media as well – if you’re not, I would suggest getting busy online to draw in more traffic into your shop. The key to getting more traffic, however, is to keep a blog, make constant photo-updates on Instagram or Facebook and keep your possible fashionista buyers in the loop about what’s going on.

One quick way of getting more exposure on other people’s blogs is to take advantage of your fellow show owners and designer’s that need the exposure as much as you do. Fair warning though, as much as it seems like an easy way out, it might not leave the best of an impression if both of you are not so genuinely raving about each other’s products. I would suggest you find a more creative way of approaching things.

Galway Designers Studio House

If you’re selling clothes, ask your blogger friend to write or video vlog about ‘outfit of the day’ or ‘3 ways to wear this piece of clothing’. It’s easy to include links in a not so obvious way to products being mentioned in such a blog post. If you’re selling jewellery then a review of ‘what’s in my jewellery box’ kind of a post might be the answers to your prayers.

Whatever you decide in the end to do… just remember to make sure the outcome won’t look like an obvious advertising piece. That kind of a reading material would not be interesting to your current customers as well as new business and it might have the complete opposite effect on the fans of your work.

LET’S WRAP IT UP

To summarize, the key to any kind of good advertising is the kind where the customer doesn’t even realize that by reading your content they’re slowly but surely being drawn into your world: so instead of selling a product, ‘sell’ an experience, a feeling, a brand.

Have you got any cool tips or tricks to share about getting your products noticed or picked up by bloggers online? If you do, don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts in the comment section below. After all… communication is the key to learning.

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Kaisa is a freelance graphic designer, Jack(ie) of all Trades Creative and the creator of the brand Sylph Designs that is known for its quirky and colourful retro-vibe pixelated jewellery. Feel free to check out her Etsy shop or follow her on social media (F

Images courtasy: The daily beast, Aay Kay and Sylph designs.

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Designer Profiles: CKB Millinery | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the seventh installment in a series of blog posts relating to the designers who will be taking part in the upcoming A/W’17 Showcase in Tribeton on September 9th. Keep an eye out on the blog and on our social media channels over the next week and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Claire Kelly Badger – CKB Millinery

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What sparked your interest with millinery?

I have always had an obsession with hats.  Since I was a young child, my grandmother had a fabulous collection of formal hats hidden in a wardrobe that came out at special occasions.  I used to try them on all the time along with her big coats and I think my obsession started from there!  

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Timothée Cognard

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I have a Degree in Business in Human Resource Management.  I started out doing a beginners Millinery course in Galway a few years back as a hobby, then proceeded to do one-to-one lessons with Lina Stein, an International award winning Milliner based in Westport.  I have continued to do courses with Lina over the years, there is still so much to learn, I am only tipping the iceberg.

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What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

As previously mentioned, I am only a part-time Milliner.   I work full time in my career in HR.  Millinery is like a release for me, somewhere to go to relax and get lost in the world of creativity.  

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What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

I love whatever is in fashion, I love to shop and key an eye on what is trending – I love colour, jewels, lace and anything sparkly so if I can incorporate any of the into my collections I am happy.  For the Autumn Winter, I love to keep hats simple but sophisticated, very demure.  

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How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

Continuous learning online and in millinery classes has definitely brought my hats to a new level in recent times.

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What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

Plan plan plan! Don’t leave deadlines until the last minute and always have your brand looking professional – first impressions are key.

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Describe your creative process.

When I get in the zone, I cannot get my pieces done quick enough.   I have ideas in my head and I’m afraid If I don’t get the work done immediately, I will lose the creative flow.

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How do you get unstuck creatively?

Get out and explore, go for walks, shop.  I find that sometimes you could might see an object, it could be absolutely anything from a tree to an ornament and you will want to recreate it with material to add to a design for a hat.

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What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

What mood am I in today?  I think my mood determines the type of creation I start.  If I am not in the right form to work on my hats, I will leave it until I am or I will sit looking at a piece of material for hours and I won’t get anywhere.

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How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

It can be difficult and times like summer are extremely busy.  I work full time and my job is quite busy so it can be difficult at times to prioritise.  But the key is to plan and not to take on too much.  I only take on what I can handle, while still maintaining a work life balance.

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Where do you see your brand expanding to?

Who knows!  I never expected to set up my own business a few years ago.  I only started in millinery for the love of making things and the desire to create my own hats.  This evolved overnight for me, so who knows what will happen in another few years.  

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What advice would you give to young designers?

If you love something enough, stick with it.  Opportunities will come to you, just go with them.

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***

Image 2|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Featured Photography|Timothée Cognard

All other imagery via Claire Kelly Badger

***

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Claire will be taking part in the GDN A/W Showcase on September 9th in Tribeton. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:

Jewellery Design at 2pm

Millinery at 4pm

Clothing Design at 6pm.

Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections.  Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat.  If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.

***

The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Designer Profiles: Cozy Handmade Designs | A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the sixth installment in a series of blog posts relating to the designers who will be taking part in the upcoming A/W’17 Showcase in Tribeton on September 9th. Keep an eye out on the blog and on our social media channels over the next few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

Ann Petrov – Cozy Handmade Designs

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Aay Kay Photography

Who are you & what kind of designer are you?

My name is Ann and I am knitwear designer, but I don’t only do knitwear, I also sew, work with patchwork and interiors.

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Timothée Cognard

What sparked your interest with fashion?

About seven years ago, I was depressed and uninspired around me. I bought myself a sewing machine and knitting needles, and I basically knitted myself out of my depression. I started with kids clothing and patchwork blankets, and then started to make clothes for myself and for my kids who by that time where on the plan.

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Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I am thought by my grandmother the most. I think she was the one who thought us the craft. Then in Estonia, where I am from, you would have handcraft/sewing classes mandatory until you finish secondary school. I studied Interior designs and currently debating to take online course in Fashion.

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What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

CHD was Karma Crafts before, I made baby clothes and sold them online or made to order. When I finished my interior designer I really wanted to add home decorating line to my kids clothing. 2016 I decided to stay home with my kids and that was the moment when I decided to take little more fashion approach and add extra line to my collection.

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What is your aesthetic?

I guess it’s more to this romantic spirited feel. I use lot of vintage inspired patterns in my designs and try to use quite muted colours. And add splash of colour to it with flowers or beads. My designs are definitely rather feminine.

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What inspired this collection?

City Royals is inspired of Vintage shawls and autumn weather. I love using knitted lace. I also like to bring this old shabby style to modern young people, make it to theirs to wear. This collection has an extension with knit/crochet clothing line, what is currently on the making but won’t be ready for the show just yet.

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Mick Russell Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I guess its slow and steady, there is up’s and there is downs. I learn with each project and design I make. My wool quality and source has gone better in past seven years. Funny note, as I have told my partner that I will more likely give up on him than on CHD! Of course if it is life and death situation…well I still might keep few needles and wool!

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What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

 Plan, study and delegate. I plan my day everyday, I plan my marketing plan and my blogging plan. I also have learned that I don’t have to know everything nor should I do everything. But I need to have great knowledge so I could hire right people to do certain services for me, so I could keep my passion live.

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Describe your creative process.

My creative process starts from the wool or material, crazy patterns or book. Sometimes its enough to see something in tv. I am very “close” to my phone and its always full of ideas. There are times I have been watching something in Netflix, seen something fabulous and then googled same moment in my phone to see can I find image of it.

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How do you get unstuck creatively?

I just leave everything, take it back to my studio and take couple of days off, to play with kids, read, bath, go shopping.

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What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

Who is going to wear it? Would I wear it? And can I visualize it how it will be when its done.

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How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

Like I said I plan my day, so it usually plans around on how much should I get done and three other tasks. If I don’t get it as I planned, then its not a big deal, tomorrow is another day. Kids have taken over my summer, so I am actually excited to get back in school routine.

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How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?

I don’t really follow fashion. I obviously do now, as I create my collection. But I more look into colour trends rather than style trends. There is so much fast fashion what has low quality made into high quantity. Having a daughter who is more ‘Tom’ than ‘Princess’ has also shown me how gender orientated the current fashion can be.

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Where do you see your brand expanding to?

I would really like to finish this one piece off women’s clothing collection and have it steady coming out each year. I don’t necessarily want to expand too big but have this steady collection available.

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What advice would you give to young designers?

Take business studies on the side of your designer studies. There is so many passionate young designers out there, who will start and fail as they have no idea how to get to next level. And also YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO START!

***

Model Imagery|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Featured Photography| Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Mick Russell|

All other imagery via Ann Petrov & @cozy_handmade_designs

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Ann will be taking part in the GDN A/W Showcase on September 9th in Tribeton. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:

Jewellery Design at 2pm

Millinery at 4pm

Clothing Design at 6pm.

Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections.  Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat.  If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.

***

The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Designer Profile: She Vibes | AW’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network, we would like you all to get to know our designers a little better. This is the first installment in a series of blog posts relating to the designers who will be taking part in the upcoming A/W’17 Showcase in Tribeton on September 9th. Keep an eye out on the blog and on our social media channels over the next few weeks and get to know our designers before the Big Day.

She Vibes – Karolina Sexton 

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Aay Kay Photography

What sparked your interest with jewellery?

I suppose every woman likes jewellery, but I don’t really like pearls, gold, stones and sparkly crystals. I like being unique and I always enjoyed  making my look a bit different from what you can see on the streets.  I wanted to wear something easy to put on, big but light and most of all something eye catching and very colourful. Inspired by African style jewellery I decided to start making yarn wrapped necklaces – and that’s how it all started.

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Aay Kay Photography

Are you self taught or did you study fashion design?

I never studied any fashion design. I am a preschool and primary teacher with an artistic soul and a passion for handmade art.

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Timothée Cognard Photography

What made you take your talent more seriously and want make a career out of it?

I am not sure If I am at this stage when I think about it as a chance for a career. I still think about what I am doing as my passion, my hobby. It’s a bit like therapy, a nice break from every day life, the kids, the work, the house duties etc. Every time I see people liking my jewellery and they are willing to buy it, I take it as a compliment. This is what makes me feel unique: people’s interest, nice words and real contact with them.

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Timothée Cognard Photography

What is your aesthetic?

I like colours. I think wearing something colourful makes life more happy, especially in Ireland where we have to deal with so many rainy and dull days – I like to brighten them up with a bit more colour. I am inspired by African style jewellery. I like to play with colours but also with different fabrics, trimmings, beads, feathers and anything what can be wrapped around strips of fabric.

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Mick Russell Photography

What inspired this collection or what are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?

When I was creating this collection I was definitely using more feathers than before. I carefully selected them while I was visiting my country during the summer holidays. I love attaching them to my necklaces . Some of them are long, some are short. Fluffy, delicate, exclusive almost. In this collection I wanted to show that my necklaces can be used as a costume jewellery as well as part of the casual look. They can be use as a part of theatre costume as they are big and very eye catching.

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Mick Russell Photography

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

I am definitely more brave by using more and more different types of ”decorations”. I started using only yarns and playing mostly with the colours. Now I am focused on making more interesting necklaces when every rope has a different texture , feeling etc.

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Mick Russell Photography

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

I don’t know how to answer this question… We are learning every day and all our lives. I am not that far with my company to be able to do that kind of evaluation yet!

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Mick Russell Photography

Describe your creative process.

It’s simpler than you think. It all comes from the need of taking break from reality! Then I look at the yarns…I think what colours I would like to mix. I decide what kind of trimmings, or beads , fabrics or maybe feathers I can attach to make it look interesting and off I go with the creative process!

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Timothée Cognard Photography

How do you get unstuck creatively?

If I feel tired from making necklaces and have no idea for the next project I usually switch to my other craft – needle felting. I make figurines, ornaments etc. After 1 or 2 felt items I can go back to my jewellery designs. It always works!

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Timothée Cognard Photography

What questions do you ask yourself before you begin any design project?

How do I want it to look on my neck? Do I want it very bright or maybe quiet this time?  Do I want it to be casual or more costume jewellery?

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Purple Blues Photography

How do you stay organized when trying to design and create while balancing family or other work related responsibilities?

Ha! Nobody said I am organized! Artistic people are usually not! I work when I can…when my kids are busy playing, between washing and feeding them. I work when they are finally asleep. I suppose it is still some kind of organization but far away from the dream!

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Manon Gustave Photography

How do you feel about the current state if the fashion industry?

To be honest with you….I don’t know. I do what I love, I sell it and it makes my happy. But I am outside of the fashion industry. I don’t follow the trends, I don’t read or watch any programs about it. I wear what I like, I do what I love…I feel free.

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Manon Gustave Photography

Where do you see your brand expanding to?

As far as I see 98% of my designs are selling to the United States (mostly New York) so I’d say that is my main market. Funky people over there!

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Manon Gustave Photography

What advice would you give to young designers?

As a designer I feel young myself so I am open for advice from designers who actually matter in the fashion industry. My time for giving advice might come but I am definitely not at this stage just yet!

***

Images 2-9|Rós Model Management|The Face Hairdressing|Colette Manning Lacey MUA

Image 10-11|Sinead Lee Hair Design|Grainne Coughlan Pro MUA

Featured Photography| Aay Kay|Timothée Cognard|Mick Russell|Purple Blues|Manon Gustave

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Karolina will be taking part in the GDN A/W Showcase on September 9th in Tribeton. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:

Jewellery Design at 2pm

Millinery at 4pm

Clothing Design at 6pm.

Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections.  Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat.  If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.

***

The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Smile for the Cameras! | GDN A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network we are in full swing preparing for our upcoming Autumn/Winter Showcase and the countdown is on as we creep towards September 9th.

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As any avid reader of this blog will know, the Galway Designers Network is a group that has been established to promote independent creativity and design. The Network was started because we felt that local designers in Galway and the surrounding areas were being overlooked in fashion shows and events due to the vast number of boutiques. We wanted to create a space for local designers to showcase their work and have a chance to gain exposure. The Autumn/Winter Showcase intends to do just that.

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GDN Founders, Ann Petrov & Gayle Ita

A selection of this season’s designers gathered together early on Sunday morning in the Showcase venue, Tribeton, for a promotional shoot.  Many of the images taken at the event will be used in the winder media as well as here on the blog and across our other social media channels as we approach the Big Day. The Galway Designers Network’s very own Aay Kay was on hand to capture some behind the scenes magic and as you will be able to see from the images that follow, Tribeton‘s stunningly ornate architecture will provide the most beautiful backdrop to this season’s event.

Want to know who the faces behind these collections are? Then come along to our Showcase on September 9th and stay up to date with our social media channels for more information about the talented people behind the designs.

As we have previously stated, this season’s venue is Tribeton, located on Merchants Road right here in Galway. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:

Jewellery Design at 2pm

Millinery at 4pm

Clothing Design at 6pm.

Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections.  Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat.  If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.

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The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Sell, Sell, Sell | How to Market Your Brand

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

In the How to Start a Fashion Business blog post, I mentioned a tip regarding the importance of creating your brand identity through marketing and advertising. I will include the exact extract below but click here for a link to the full blog post. 

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There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

For this week’s blog post, I thought it would be ideal to elaborate on the importance of marketing for the success of your fashion brand and offer a few helpful tips and tricks. Hopefully, you will learn something new or can adapt some of the techniques to suit your business. 

Starting a business, particularly in the fashion industry can feel a little overwhelming. With so many brands out there all vying for coverage, your efforts to get your brand noticed can feel a little futile, almost as if you are just one of many, spreading your message, hoping it catches someone’s attention. However, you should never let the saturation of the marketplace deter you from giving it your best effort.

Once you have a solid foundation for your business – by which I mean you have a comprehensive understanding of your brand identity, including your distinct design voice and aesthetic, values, beliefs and an understanding of your customer (click here to read last week’s blog post for some helpful tips on how to identify and target your perfect customer) – it is time to use all of this information to create a marketing plan.  

Some of the simplest tips for marketing your business are to post regularly on social media, having a blog, running competitions, joining different online or offline communities and going to events. However, sometimes you might find you have attempted all of these things and they seem to have no impact. That is hopefully where these few tips will come in and help you to market your business. 

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Tip 1: Directly Ask People to Share 

This may seem slightly intimidating, or even a little desperate, but it is probably the most effective marketing technique. If you are lucky enough to have a customer base already, contact them and ask them to share your brand with a friend, or tag it on social media. There have been numerous times where I have been scrolling through Instagram, saw an outfit I liked and tapped the picture to check the credits only to discover that the one thing I was interested in wasn’t tagged. If you don’t have customers yet, ask people in your circle or even other members of our own Galway Designers Network.  Make a list of names and send a short email telling them about your latest work or newest pieces, how much you would appreciate a little support and add the direct links to your various profiles and social media pages. It will not appear pushy so long as you phrase everything in a polite manner, and the majority of people are happy to support brands they admire, believe in and have good experiences with. 

 

Tip 2: Ensure Your Presence at All Events

…even if you are not physically there.

How can you manage this? Well there are a couple of options available. One way many of the larger designers and brands do it is through the use of ambassadors. While this can take some time, finding a customer who knows your brand as well as you do and who is happy to publicly represent you will be an invaluable resource. If you have someone you think fits the bill, organise an event that your ambassador can host to present them to the world as your new Brand Ambassador, perhaps a lifestyle event or a personal styling session. That way, you have someone who can host events for you in areas where you or your team cannot be or even have them simply attend events in your stead. 

Another option could be to try and gain sponsorship. This does not have to cost a fortune; make use of interesting events or clubs in your locality where you could offer merchandise, goodies or services, or even some financial support. By conducting some succinct research, you can gain an understand of the interests your customer base has and use this information to create an effective   sponsorship marketing plan that will not cost the world.

 

Tip 3: Share your Expertise 

We’re all experts in something. As a designer, you will  have extensive knowledge about textiles, pattern drafting, construction, sustainability practices, even topics like the tools required for starting a business, what its like to be a designer in a small town etc. Take your experiences and channel them why writing about them. Be yourself, open and honest, and share everything you can. Find the best place to share your work, either in a magazine, newspaper or on a blog. By doing so, you will broaden your audience and cast your sales net even wider, thus attracting more sales. 

 

Tip 4: Social Media Conversations

Social Media is one the most critical marketing tools for the current retail sector. As a designer, it is important to have an online presence where you can engage with customers. Make sure your have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Snapchat and use them to interact with customers, bloggers and journalists in your area. By doing so, you will open your brand up to a world wide audience and help to strengthen it. 

  • FacebookIt is important to post regularly, with relevant updates. You can also try to engage with your customers by posting poles or doing live Facebook videos showing you at work while taking questions from your followers. Facebook is one of the best channels for audience interaction and questions, but it will inevitably be the first place they go to complain, so keep an eye on all customer interaction. 
  • Twitter: Much like Facebook, you should try to tweet regularly, ensuring your tweets are relevant and consistent with your brand. You could tweet about your latest design, a new fabric or pattern, your current line, some of the best sellers etc. Also, promote your other social media platforms as well as your sales channels. Another tip is to be seen to be tweeting with reaction to different collections during fashion week/cruise collections or other fashion business news to showcase your awareness of current developments.  Keep the tone personal, approachable and interactive – get talking to people! 
  • Instagram: Use Instagram to showcase your work by post images of each of your pieces. Show them individually and styled with different outfits to give your followers inspiration. If you see a piece from a high end designer similar to a design of yours, share that, with the relevant link to your item showing your customers how to get the look for less. Instagram is fast becoming the most relevant social media platform for fashion and offers a wonderful place to engage with other designers, customers or bloggers and journalists in your area. Instastories also offers you the chance to post daily updates and short videos of you at work as a designer or even offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces. One of the best features of Instastories is the ability to tag where you are, adding to the Instastory of the locality, particularly helpful if you decide to upload a video of an event or showcase you are taking part it. 
  • Snapchat: Although, Instastories has somewhat over taken Snapchat in recent months, having a Snapchat account can prove to be a critical social media tool in terms of engaging with followers and potential customers. Snapchat is a quick, hassle free means of taking customer questions and interacting with your audience. It is also a great tool if you want your personality as the designer to become part of your brand identity, as many people will feel like they can get to know you through the videos or images you post. Again, much like Instastories, you can post daily updates and short videos of you at work, offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces, or tag where you are, adding to the Snapchat story for the local area. 

By using social media, you can expand your audience and forge better relationships with the followers you have. Tools like Facebook Live/Instagram Live are great means of having long, engaging conversations with potential customers, rather than sporadic chat in a comments section.

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People love what others are passionate about, and if your fashion line is your passion, then there is someone out there just waiting to discover it. How do they do that? Through your effective and efficient marketing strategy.

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If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. It might also be a good idea to read last week’s blog post about how to identify your target customer or this post about the various challenges and opportunities for designers in the modern retail environment.

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Hey Designers!

We want to invite you all to come along to our June Meet-up on Friday 23rd, in the Workbench Bank of Ireland.

This is an opportunity for us to catch up with what everyone is doing at the moment, meet new faces, have a chat, and tell you about news from our end!

Topics which will be covered:
– Details on the upcoming September Fashion Show
– News on our membership offer
– Update on the Studio House progress
– A meet & greet of each of us, with everyone getting a chance to introduce themselves and tell about their design business
– Sounding board for any issues as a designer which you would like to address in a future workshop/talk

There will be nibbles and drinks, and we will have quite a structured meeting in order to get everything covered..

If you want to attend, please email us @galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com or Message us on Facebook and we will send you more info.

We need to know definite numbers, so please be sure to confirm your place!

Looking forward to seeing and meeting you all!

Gayle & Ann xxx

The Only Way is Up | Starting a Fashion Business

In 2014, The British Fashion Council and London Business School collaborated on a report entitled Commercialising Creativity — Creating a Success Model for British Fashion Designers which aimed to investigate whether or not there was a distinctive formula to creating a successful fashion business.

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Defining Success

— There are three dimensions of success within the designer fashion sector:

1 Creative acclaim (how the designer’s creativity is perceived)

2 Communications perception (public profile and awareness)

3 Commercial acclaim (how much sales and profits the designer generates)

This is how the report defines success, and while your outlook on success could be very different to commercial viability, for the purpose of the report and this blog post, I will define success in a similar way to the authors.

This post will offer 6 Tips which are based on some of the most critical and interesting points of the report and try to give up and coming designers a blueprint for turning your hobby into a successful business.

The report has striven to identify the biggest challenges designers may face and the best means to approaching and eventually conquering them. The report is based on information collected from a varied and knowledgeable group of people.

Acknowledgements, Commercialising Creativity

Tip 1: Behave like a Business

The business and creative side of being a designer need to become interconnected so it is critically important that from the start you treat your craft as a business. This means that you as a designer should embody entrepreneurial spirit that will drive your business towards success.

What do I mean by entrepreneurial spirit? I mean having a clear vision for your company and drafting a business plan right from the start. You should have a desire to promote yourself as being reliable and credible, more than someone just tinkering away in there kitchen. There’s noting wrong with tinkering away in your kitchen, as long as you are working towards a establishing a solid business.

It might also be worth considering bringing on board a business partner, someone with tried and tested commercial and business skills, to help out, although it is of the utmost importance that you as the designer have an understanding of the basis of commerciality.

Tip 2: Recognise the Importance of Product Development

Once you have decided you want to turn your talent into a business, the tendency can be there to show off everything you can do and create lots of beautiful designs. However, if you look at any emerging designer who was fortunate enough to find commercial success and establish themselves in the industry, they all started small with one product line and then developed their brand from this jumping off point. This is an important step to take as it creates a concise image of your brand which needs to be consistently intrinsic in all of your future work to give your business brand recognition.

Linked to this is the process of setting the correct price point to ensure commercial success. Ensure that you price your work accordingly, taking into consideration the cost of materials, manufacturing, delivery, market value as well as your cut as the designer of the piece. Too often, emerging designers will forgo their dues and pay themselves little to nothing, which results in them losing out on the much needed revenue to invest in their business.

It is also important to try to gain feedback from people who understand the commercial success of a designer, which surprisingly are not the press. The fashion buyer is an emerging designer’s best friend. While it may be super exciting to have your work featured in a local magazine or showcase, the only thing that will sustain your business is sales, not column inches.

Tip 3: Create your Brand Identity through Marketing & Advertising

There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

Tip 4:  Tackle the Challenges of Production

As a designer and head of your business, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the manufacturing process so as to ensure that you can make realistic demands. Creating a sustainable relationship with a reliable manufacturer will be the key your success. You will be faced with the ethical dilemma of choosing to manufacture locally, which while good for your local economy and local fashion industry but can prove to be expensive, or to outsource production overseas where it is cheaper but perhaps more questionable.

As a new business you may struggle with production. You’ll be placing smaller orders, which ultimately leaves you in a poor position to bargain with manufacturers. Often, a manufacturer will ask you for a deposit before you are anywhere near to receiving payment from a retailer. While this can be a difficult pill to swallow in the early stages, it is essential to make this payment or any other promptly so that production is not delayed. If you rescind on your promises to get deliveries to retailers, it will damage your credibility.

Tip 5: Find the Key to Sales and Distribution

In order to be a successful designer of a successful company, you need to make sales. Lots of them. The direct financing of you own independent store is not the only option when it comes to making sales. If you do wish to open a flagship store, there are numerous investment options such as partnerships or joint ventures like our own Galway Designers Studio House, franchising or to approach established retailers.

When approaching an established retailer, you need to attract the attention of buyers. Approach buyers with an understanding of your Unique Selling Point, how your product fits with all of the other brands they buy, a set price point and a well structured business.

I think what could be improved is the designers’ sense of place. They need to know how they compare to the competition. Who is going to buy the product? Where you would like to be sold, realistically? Will it be the right price? These questions have to be answered before picking up a pen to design.

Anne Pitcher, Managing Director, Selfridges

Designers need to fully understand the contractual conditions of working with retailers, distributing companies and sales agents. When deciding to take your business this step further, you must fully appreciate the various different channels and options available to you and the effect each choice could have on the business.

If you choose to create an online business, it is important to consider all of the advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and peculiarities of this choice. Selling online is entirely different to selling in-store. With no tangible items for a customer to hold or try on, it can be incredibly difficult to make sales. As a general rule, more colorful or  printed products tend to be the best sellers, and any item that has an unusual shape or fit will be a tougher sell. However, having an online site will maximise your sales and increase your brand recognition.

Tip 6:  Understand the Importance of Funding and Financing

Money, money money.  At the very start, you will find your cash flow is going out a lot longer before it starts coming in. It is critically important therefore to know where your funding is coming from and keep your finances under control. In order to establish a successful fashion business, you need to appreciate the fact that the gap between funding your company and recovering revenue from the sales of your designs needs to be carefully managed with the utmost skill.

As a fashion business, you will need to be fully aware of the various funding options – loans, investors, grants etc – and and take into careful consideration what option is best to maximise your liquidity. Most businesses will bring an investor or two on board to gain some initial funding. If you choose to take a similar step you need to understand that you will lose some of the control over the business as you will have to meet their requirements and demands, so think very carefully and don’t undersell yourself and your share of the business.

The above tips offer just a brief snippet of what the full report explores. It has been written with the UK in mind, but all of the advice can be appropriated by anyone starting  a fashion business.

Read the full “Commercialising Creativity Report” here to read case studies and educate yourself fully on the factors that contribute to the success or failure of a designer’s fashion business.

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Supporting emerging designers in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by young designers, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Fashion: a Female Game?

Following from last week’s blog post an interesting thought struck me. While female empowerment is one of the biggest fashion trends for Summer 2017, why is it that female empowerment in the industry itself is such a rarity. Why is it a current trend rather than an eternal staple?

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Image via Dior

Currently, the majority of creative directors for luxury fashion brands are men. Why? Is it that men are more talented, more deserving? No.

Women are miles ahead of the game in other areas: two of the arguably most powerful figures in the industry are women: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and Linda Fargo, senior vice-president and women’s fashions director for Manhattan based department store Bergdorf Goodman.

However, in the design field, women are still trailing behind their male counterparts. Let’s take take the three biggest luxury fashion conglomerates: LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kering and Richemont, and examine them. Out of over 15 fashion and leather good’s brands owned by LVMH, only 4 of them are led by women. They are Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Carol Lim at Kenzo, a shared position with Humberto Leon, and Silvia Venturini Fendi who is the creative director for accessories & men’s for Fendi. Within Kering, there are only 2 women heading the 8 brands: Stella McCartney is the creative director for her own label and Sarah Burton helm’s Alexander McQueen. Finally, within Richemont, there is only Natacha Ramsay Levi, the creative director for Chloé.

Major fashion colleges such as Central Saint Martins and New York’s Fashion Institute boast a huge majority of female students who win exceptional placements and excellent graduate jobs. LVMH, Kering and Richemont all boast excellent relationships with leading business schools around the world. In terms of these fashion conglomerates, Delphine Arnault of LVMH is a lone she-wolf among male executives.

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Delphine Arnault, LVMH

While many of the world’s fashion houses were established by women many of them have since been taken over by men: Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci and Marie-Louise Carven.

There are exceptions that prove the rule. We have the likes of Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Tory Burch, Angela Missoni, Donatella Versace, and Consuelo Castiglioni, all of whom either achieved their success by inheriting a family business or by starting their own.

It is a thought that leaves us with many questions. Perhaps it is that female designers are seen as less pioneering or innovative than their male counterparts? Is it that idea that women are incapable of balancing family and work life? Are women more interested in the glamorous side of the industry rather than the business? Is it sexism and male privilege?

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Image via NY Times

The appointments of Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Natacha Ramsay Levi at Chloé, Claire Waight Keller at Givenchy and Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin show that the tide is turning, but is it soon enough?

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Supporting women in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by three women, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but these women need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Taking the Next Step

Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Network are delighted to announce some incredibly exciting news: Galway Designers Studio House.

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Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Studio House will be a venue, rather than a store, created for the purpose of offering a solid space for designers to sell their merchandise, whilst also offering a designated hub for people to come together, collaborate and learn something new as well as promote themselves and their business.

The vision for Galway Designers Studio House has grown from a need to create a new shopping experience, enabling consumers to step away from high street and department stores, from faceless fast fashion, and towards supporting local industry and ethical fashion.

A Store & A Studio.

The structure of Galway Designers Studio House will be two-fold: a store and a studio.

Within the store, local designers will have the opportunity to ‘rent’ a rail/table/window display, which will give them the much needed chance for exposure and getting their designs and their names into the minds of the wider public.

This studio is a space onsite will enable designers to work in a professional environment, helping you to get your designs/work stations out of your spare room. The studio will also serve as a venue for information evenings, networking events, courses and showcases to not only boost the profits of a designer’s business but also to offer education, tools and support to take the business to the next level.

The hardest part of being an independent designer is having your voice heard and your creative vision seen; Galway Designers Studio House offers you the chance to achieve just that!

Gayle, Ann & Virtue: The 3 women behind the idea.

This is an idea that has been created by three members of our Network, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax. All three women have a desire to come together and combine their passion and experience to create a new avenue for their respective businesses. Each of these women have been designers and members of the fashion industry for a long time, and have gained extensive, essential experience in not only design, but also styling, marketing, event management and merchandising.

Below are some photographs of the three ladies so you can put faces to names and some thumbnail images of examples of some of their own stunning design work:

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Help make this dream a reality!

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set up a crowdfunding campaign, to not only raise the much needed funds to back such an ambitious project, but to encourage everyone to get involved and support your local fashion industry. Galway is a hub of talented designers, innovators, crafters, stylists, models and photographers, and a project like the Galway Designers Studio House will be beneficial to everyone who wants to be a part of this special industry.

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set a target of €11,000 in order to get the project up and running. This money will cover the costs of renting a secure premises, utilities, rates, fittings etc. The money will also go towards creating a strong and innovative marketing campaign which will help to spread the word, encourage more designers to join and ensure customers come flooding through the doors. With a detailed and extensive business plan in place, Gayle, Ann and Virtue can see the potential success this business will have, all they need is a little helping hand to get project off the ground.

You donate, we give you presents!

By donating some your money to this project, you will not only ensure that designers have the chance to achieve the dreams they have always longed for, you will also receive some special gifts as a reward to show you all our appreciation. We know you work exceptionally hard for your money, and we do not want you to think that we take your kindness for granted.

Donations of varying values will receive the following gifts from Gayle, Ann and Virtue:

  • €10+ : A specially designed thank you card & a specially designed tote bag.
  • €25+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag along with a 10% discount card to use in store.
  • €50+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag, along with a voucher for €20 to use in the store, a front row invitation to our networks bi-annual fashion shows, and a personal invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €100+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €50, along with a token gift and a VIP invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €250+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €75 to use in store along with a hamper of goodies worth €100.
  • €500+ : A very personal specially designed thank you card, a special mention on our website as a sponsor, VIP membership card which provides VIP invites to all our events, workshops and courses along with the store opening launch event. You will also receive 3 x €100 vouchers to spend on our in-house designers clothing lines.

Let’s make this happen!

If everyone gives, even a little, we can soon make this dream a reality, a dream that not only will benefit the designers involved, but also any potential designers who see that they too can have their individual voices heard and become successful, fulfilled and happy in their work.